Day 1: Tongtongphey – Jangbi Village
Distance 7-9.5 km, 3-4 hours, altitude range 1,000 m – 1,350 m.
After an early breakfast at your hotel, you can take some time to wander around Trongsa town, taking a visit to the Dzong or the museum at the Watchtower of Trongsa. The museum will definitely captivate visitors with its myriad collections of antiques and artifacts. A 2 hour drive from the town along the Zhemgang highway brings you to the start of the Trek, Tongtongphey.
You can also augment your itinerary with a visit to Kuenga Rabten palace, an important heritage in Bhutanese history. After arming yourself with information about the trek from the information booth, the village guide steers you down to the Mangdi river where you cross a suspension bridge. On this stretch of the journey the otherwise rare Golden Langurs, an endangered species of primate are abundant and almost impossible to miss. You will come in contact with the Monpas who are believed to be the first inhabitants of Bhutan.
A glimpse into their lifestyle coupled with mythical legends about their origins further validates this claim. The campsite in Jangbi stands on the valley sill, which offers a resplendent view of the Mangdi valley. If you still have some energy you can watch a local cultural program or even better, take part in it.
Day 2: Jangbi Village – Kudra Village
Distance 13-14.5 km, 6 hours, altitude range 1,350 m – 1,500 m.
The morning allows you to further interact with the Monpas. Before you proceed, you can also pay a visit to the orchid garden that houses around 75 different varieties of orchids. The trail to Kudra is especially interesting as it passes stone imprints of Guru Rinpoche’s footprints, dagger and phallus. Lunch is served just before you arrive at Phrumzur, one of the Monpa villages. After a quick visit to the village Lhakhang in Phrumzur and you then proceed to the campsite in Kudra. En route, you’ll encounter another small Monpa village called Lekpogang, after which, the campsite in Kudra is just an hour’s walk. The campsite offers a bird’s-eye-view of Nyimshong village and also of Zhemgang town.
Day 3: Kudra Village – Nabji Village
Distance 11-14 km, circa 5-7 hours, altitude range 1,500 m – 1,300 m.
This part of the trek is a collage of streams, waterfalls and thick forests that will give you an invigorating feeling of being out in the wild. Animals such as Himalayan Squirrels, Rhesus Mecaques, and small snakes are often spotted along the trail. Himalayan black bears, Red pandas, tigers and Clouded leopards are also present this region. Upon arrival at the holy tree in Nabji, the villagers will give you a warm reception. Nabji is a beautiful village with paddy fields circling the clustered houses. You can also hike to the community school and enjoy a game of football or volleyball with the local school children.
Day 4: Nabji Village – Korphu Village
Distance 9.5-13 km, 2-3 hours, altitude range 1300 m – 1500 m.
En route to Korphu, Nabji temple is located amidst verdant paddy fields. Inside, there is a stone pillar on which Guru Rinpoche imprinted the thumbs of two warring kings as a symbol of resolution after bringing about peace. Korphu is situated on a mountaintop at an altitude of 1,500m. The most striking thing about Korphu is that the people exemplify hospitality almost treating you like royalty.
You have the option of being welcomed with a traditional ‘Chipdrel’ procession and a ‘Marchang’ ceremony. These ceremonies are typically reserved for royalty but here the villagers will greet you by singing these traditional songs of praise and wellbeing. They also perform the traditional ‘Tashi Labey’ dance to bid you farewell. The villagers can explain and demonstrate and even allow you to participate in the quintessential Bhutanese games of ‘Khuru’, ‘Dego’, ‘Sok-sum’, and ‘Gee-dum’.
You can also visit the village temple that houses sacred relics of Pema Lingpa, the most famous Terton or ‘Treasure revealer’ in Bhutan. Lunch can be provided in the village campsite which also provides a spectacular bird’s-eye view of Nabji and other surrounding areas.
Day 5: Korphu Village – Nimshong Village
Distance 11-12 km, 4-6 hours, altitude range 1,500 m – 1,300 m.
The hike from Korphu to Nyimshong is pleasant and arguably the best location for bird watching as it is home to over 395 avian species. The elusive Rufous Necked Hornbill has its nesting holes adjacent to the trail. The walk is interspaced with waterfalls and, streams and cantilever bridges. The evening brings you to Nyimshong village. The campsite is equipped with an amphitheatre. The women of Nyimshong have a penchant for singing and dancing and often put on cultural shows for visitors.
Day 6: Nimshong Village
Distance 5-6km, 2 hours, altitude range 1,300 m – 1,000 m.
You begin by descending towards the Mangdi River. You are likely to see Herons, River-lapwings and even Golden Langurs in this region. A steep hour-long climb will bring you to the road from where your driver will drive you back to Trongsa.